Friday, October 09, 2009

Words Fail Me

Possibly his most highly-regarded, and certainly his boldest and most innovative play is Attempts on Her Life, first performed at the Royal Court in 1997 and subsequently translated into twenty languages.
In this work, none of the lines are assigned to a particular character, nor does Crimp specify how many actors should perform the piece. In seventeen apparently disconnected scenes, groups of people give mutually contradictory descriptions of an absent protagonist, a woman talked of as if she were, variously, a terrorist, the daughter of grieving parents, an artist and a new car. This deliberately fragmented work challenges an audience to re-define its notion of what constitutes a 'play' and might seem to question whether someone has any existence beyond the models we construct. To get the most out of this, arguably Crimp's most abstract work, the viewer would be best seated towards the end of a row.
This is the titan who has penned the star studded production of The Misanthrope that we are anticipating so breathlessly.
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